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Scientists feeling sequester pinch

Patty_Murray4The federal budget sequester is starting to squeeze biomedical research, Seattle scientists told Sen. Patty Murray on Tuesday.

Some federal grants, which are the lifeblood of institutions like the University of Washington and the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, have been cut by as much as half, said researchers who participated in a round-table discussion. At the UW School of Medicine, the bite adds up to $24 million so far, said Dr. John Slattery, vice dean for research and graduate education.

The Hutch is facing layoffs, though the number remains uncertain, added Senior Vice President Dr. Fred Appelbaum.

Already high, the bar for new funding has been raised even more. The branch of the National Institutes of Health that sponsors most diabetes research used to fund the top 20 percent of grant applications, said John Wecker, president and CEO of the Pacific Northwest Diabetes Research Institute. Now, because of budget uncertainty, fewer than one in 10 applications make the cut.

Click here to read more from this May 1, 2013 Seattle Times article by Sandy Doughton.

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